MONTEBALLO—May 25 was a celebration of many events for ARS Nairy chapter of Montebello. It was the Feast of the Ascension ( Hampartsoom), a folkloric day for young girls. It was also a day to celebrate the achievements of the older students of the chapter’s Saturday School who had won First prize in a general knowledge Quiz Bowl organized by the Regional Executive. Most important, it was a celebration of the achievements of three outstanding students from Montebello High School, Schurr High School and Armenian Mesrobian School.
The Mistress of Ceremony, Marie Peltekian, welcomed the audience and after a prayer, invited the guests to a buffet of delicious food prepared by all Nairy members.
Following dinner, she invited the president of ARS Nairy chapter, Sona Fundukian, who in her remarks singled out the pioneering spirit of the Nairy Chapter. She explained that about 40 years ago the Nairy Chapter initiated the tradition of recognizing not only the outstanding graduates of Armenian schools, but the outstanding Armenian students of local public high schools.
Fundukian awarded the certificates assisted by Nairy Chapter Vice-President Pauline Altounian. The outstanding students were: Katherine Murkijanian of Montebello High School, who will be attending UCLA majoring in Biology; Taline Harboyan of Schurr High School, who will be attending Fullerton State University majoring in Biomedical Engineering; and Alex Manoukian of Armenian Mesrobian School who will be attending Georgetown University in Washington majoring in Political Science and Arabic.
Speaking directly to the students, Fundukian emphasized that the students have a special place in ARS members’ hearts because they represent the future of our people.
“We applaud your decision to pursue your education because it indicates your awareness of the importance of education in your personal life and in the advancement of our national cause,” said Fundukian.
Naira Ouzounian, Principal of ARS Nairy Saturday School, introduced her students who presented a short cultural program to the delight of the audience. Dressed in “forget-me-not” violet costumes, they sang, danced and recited. After the program they distributed plates of kata and halva, prepared by the Saturday School teachers, to each of the 10 tables, while the winners of the Quiz Bowl received certificates from their principal.
This year the Nairy scholarships were given in memory of the chapter’s beloved member, Alice Madenlian, the first President of the ARS Western Region. When she was at the helm of ARS Central Executive the ARS was re-established in Armenia after 70 years of absence. Her legacy of sacrifice and patriotism has been an inspiration to all members.